The Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPU was officially announced today advertising 2x the performance, 3x the memory and 4x the I/O bandwidth compared to previous generations.   For more information on what the E7 v2 CPU offers, as well as what blade servers were announced, continue reading below.

Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPU Overview

Before I provide details on the blade servers announced, let me give you the high level imageoverview of the Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPU.  You may know that Intel uses a “Tick-Tock” approach to their CPU release cycle.  This may seem cryptic to many people, but in short, Intel makes a new CPU architecture (Tock) and then they make it smaller (Tick).  Intel came out with the E5 CPU in Feb. of 2012 and in September 2013, they made it smaller and classified it as “v2” – also known as Ivy Bridge.  Along with making the CPU smaller, they also squeezed in a few more CPU cores, increasing the E5 CPU from 8 cores to 12 cores.

With today’s announcement of the E7 v2 family of CPUs, Intel deviated from their Tick-Tock model and actually combined the two, allowing for a new E7 architecture combined with a smaller size.

The Intel Xeon E7 v2 processor offers:

  • 4 memory channels with 3 DIMMs per Channel (24 DIMMs) per CPU
  • Support for up to 64GB DIMMs
  • 3 Quick Path Interconnects (QPIs) allowing faster communication to adjacent CPU architecture
  • Up to 37.5MB of Shared Cache
  • Up to 37 lanes of PCIe Express 3.0

In my opinion, one of the best features, aside from the large memory footprint and the huge amount of CPU cores is the architectural change of allowing the PCIe lanes to connect directly into the CPU allowing for a much higher performance compared to the previous generation which utilized an I/O hub traffic cop approach for I/O communication.

In summary, Intel expects you’ll experience 2x the performance, 3x the memory and 4x the I/O bandwidth compared to previous generations.

New Blade Servers with Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPU

IBM

imageIBM announced in January they would be releasing the IBM FlexSystem x880 X6.  This blade server comes in a full-width model and is part of the IBM PureFlex product line.  Each node will hold:

  • 2 x Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPUs
  • 48 DIMMs
  • 2 x 2.5” Hot-Swap Hard Drives

Although not much information is available about this blade server at this time, I have heard that 2-4 nodes can be integrated with a NUMA link inside the Flex System chassis to create progressively larger shared memory systems.  As more information becomes available, I’ll update this blog with details on the IBM FlexSystem x880 X6.  Availability of this server is currently unknown, but expected to be in Q2 2014.

Cisco

In contrast, Cisco, has published a good amount of information on their newest blade server offerings – the UCS B260 M4 and the UCS B460 M4.

UCSB260M4The Cisco UCS B260 M4 is a half full-width blade server with the following specs:

  • Up to two Intel® Xeon® processor E7 v2 product family
  • 48 dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots
  • Up to 1.5 TB memory using 32 GB DIMMs
  • Two optional, hot-pluggable drive bays supporting HDD and SSD drives with SAS or SATA interfaces
  • Three mezzanine connectors for up to 160 Gbps I/O per blade

UCSB460M4The Cisco UCS B460 M4 is a half full-width blade server with the following specs:

  • Up to four Intel® Xeon® processor E7 v2 product family
  • 96 dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots
  • Up to 3.0 TB memory using 32 GB DIMMs
  • Four optional, hot-pluggable drive bays supporting HDD and SSD drives with SAS or SATA interfaces
  • Two modular LAN on Motherboard (mLOM)
  • Four PCIe mezzanine slots
  • Provides up to 320 Gbps overall Ethernet throughput

The Cisco UCS B460 M4 is a full-width, double-height server, so you’ll be able to fit 2 within a single blade chassis.

UCSB460M4-withChassis

Cisco’s website mentions these new blade servers will be available in Q2 of 2014.

There have been no other blade server vendors announce blade servers based on the Intel Xeon E7 v2 CPU, but if more announcements come, I’ll post the info here.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

Kevin Houston is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over 17 years of experience in the x86 server marketplace.  Since 1997 Kevin has worked at several resellers in the Atlanta area, and has a vast array of competitive x86 server knowledge and certifications as well as an in-depth understanding of VMware and Citrix virtualization.  Kevin works for Dell as a Server Sales Engineer covering the Global Enterprise market.

Disclaimer: The views presented in this blog are personal views and may or may not reflect any of the contributors’ employer’s positions. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any employer.

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